At Home with Stacey Solomon

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Stacey Solomon with AGA Ovencooker eR7 150 in Black

Visiting Stacey Solomon at Pickle Cottage – which she describes as her forever home – is a huge treat. She is exactly the same at home as she is on TV or on her Instagram account. Stacey is warm, friendly, welcoming and full of good humour. It’s often said that the key to happiness is being grateful for what you have and Stacey is a case in point.

She shot to fame in 2009, when she came third on ITV’s The X Factor, before appearing on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and, more recently, as a member of the Loose Women panel and the presenter of the BAFTA-nominated declutter and upcycling series, Sort Your Life Out. 

Viewers love her sense of humour, her warmth and her ability to laugh at herself. She’s also widely praised for how open and honest she is about life in general.

“I am who I am and there’s nothing I can do about it,” she laughs, bouncing Rose on her knee.

“I’m not holier than thou, but I do try to be as nice as possible and I’m aware of how lucky I’ve been. You can work and make the most of opportunities, but you have to be given those chances in the first place. When ITV asked me if I wanted to do the Jungle I wasn’t a celebrity, so I felt like I’d won the lottery. I didn’t know how I’d even got in there. And then I won!”

Family comes first for Stacey – she has five children, Zachary, Leighton, Rex, Rose and new baby Belle.

Last summer, she married Joe Swash, her partner of eight years.

Zachary was born when Stacey was just 17 and, she says, her life then couldn’t have been more different to now.

“When I had Zac,” she says, “we had no money whatsoever. I would use milk tokens as I couldn’t afford SMA. Me, my sister, my brother and Zac all shared a room because we had a two-up, two-down with my mum and that was it.”

It’s perhaps because Stacey experienced hardship that people relate so well to her. It’s also perhaps why she hates waste and remains careful with money despite her circumstances having improved considerably. 

In the summer of 2021 she and Joe, an actor, found Pickle Cottage in the Essex countryside and immediately knew it was the perfect place to raise their growing family. The house is close to where Stacey grew up and all her family are close by. 

“We got so lucky,” she says. “We just happened to be driving down this lane because my sister lives nearby and saw a for sale sign at the end of the road. We arranged a viewing before we even knew what the house was like or if it was in our budget. 

“When we got to see it, it was like my dream house and we knew it was for us. We couldn’t believe it was on the market and we couldn’t believe it was in our budget.

It’s a hidden paradise. We’re close to the motorway but at the same time I feel as if I’m away from everything. It’s my favourite place to be.” 

Stacey and Joe have been renovating the house and Stacey often posts Instagram updates that are hugely popular with her followers. There’s a large open plan kitchen and sitting room where the family spend a lot of time. 

“We live in the kitchen,” Stacey says. “In the summer we spend a lot of time in here because it’s bright and airy and in the winter the AGA is on all the time and it heats up the room so it feels really cosy.” 

The room is beautiful with great views over the garden. With white cabinetry and worktops and a pale floor made up of large-format tiles it’s the perfect balance of stylishly chic and family friendly. The kitchen is by Wren. 

Stacey says. “I got to design it with them and then they fitted it. I didn’t want a really cheap kitchen because we were doing the whole house up, but I also didn’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds either – we can’t afford to spend that kind of money. We needed something that was middle of the road, but still felt special. 

The chimney breast behind the AGA range cooker was clad in stone to mirror a wall that can be seen out of the window. Stacey was keen to link the garden with the indoor space. She was also determined to have her first AGA at the heart of the kitchen.

“The AGA for me is the centre of the room – it’s like the feature of a kitchen,” Stacey says. 

“I was just obsessed with it,” she says. “I’d always dreamed of having one. I remember going to my friends’ houses and they’d have an AGA and I loved just sitting by it to get warm. There was just something so special about it. When we moved here, I was so excited about it having an AGA I knew when we renovated that I wanted to still have one.”

Stacey and Joe removed the old model and replaced it with a new electric AGA eR7 150 in Black. They wanted one that was as energy efficient as possible and having ovens and hotplates that could be controlled independently and switched off when not required, made great sense to the couple. 

“Energy use at the moment is scary and I don’t care what anyone says. Unless you have come from wealth and have guaranteed amount of money for ever, it’s scary times for everyone. So we we’re thinking about how we can be more efficient in the winter and how we can keep our energy bills down.” 

Stacey wanted to be sure she was running her home at maximum efficiency, so experimented with the best way to use energy.

“We did a month of just the radiators being on and a month of just the AGA and it cost much less using only the AGA. So we turn off the electric heaters unless it’s really freezing and the AGA will heat the whole house, which is incredible, and it costs less than the separate radiators.”

It’s not just the cosy warmth the AGA cooker provides. Stacey also loves AGA cooking. Preparing meals for a big and busy family takes some juggling and three days a week she uses a Hello Fresh box and the rest of the time buys from local shops, choosing whatever is seasonal. 

“There’s nothing you can’t cook in an AGA and I love using it as it makes everything feel more homely. Salmon is my easiest go-to meal and on Sunday I cooked a roast chicken dinner. The AGA just makes everything taste amazing.

“I also love toast on the AGA. It’s the best kind of toast. You know how, in a toaster,” she laughs, “it gets it brown in the middle but the edges never get brown? Well, the AGA gets it brown all round!”